I’m sorry to keep banging on about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but there are, in the mainstream media, two new, independent and quite damning assessments of Prime Minister Trudeau’s first two years in office:
- Konrad Yakabuski, writing in the Globe and Mail, which is not rabidly anti-Liberal, says that “The world now knows what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meant when he said: “Canada is back.” We’re not the helpful middle-power willing to punch above our weight, after all. We’re more like the spoiled teen who engages in voluntourism to pad her résumé. It seems we’re more out to impress people than take on the thankless tasks required of an adult … [and] … Our friends have come to see us as high maintenance, fickle and even hypocritical. Helpful? Not so much. We get up on our high-horse to proclaim our “feminist” foreign policy while continuing to sell armoured vehicles to one of the world’s most misogynistic regimes. We don’t have the guts to admit why we’re really selling arms to Saudi Arabia and hide behind the excuse of done deals … [then, as if that wan’t bad enough] … We naively trumpet a return to peacekeeping without so much as a basic understanding of the modern meaning of the term. When we learn what’s really involved, we stall and waver, until that is no longer possible. We make a commitment to supply helicopters and personnel in a danger zone, but offer no date for deployment, fearing body bags before the next election … [and, even worse] … We are becoming a laughing stock in diplomatic circles for the haplessness and tone-deafness of our Prime Minister on foreign soil and the failure of his entourage to insulate him from himself;” and
- Over in the National Post, which is less Trudeau-friendly, Andrew Coyne says that “underneath all the partisan silliness [of the Atwal affair] there are some serious issues involved, and serious questions raised by [National Security Advisor Daniel] Jean’s intervention …
- First, who was responsible for the decision to involve him so overtly on such a political file? Was it on Jean’s own initiative? That would be odd, and improper, for someone in his position. Or did the prime minister’s office put him up to it? That would be even more improper.
- Second, what is the truth of what he is reported to have said? Was there really a plot to embarrass the prime minister by high-level Indian officials seeking to poison Indian-Canadian relations? That’s a huge charge, and one worth investigating, despite — or because of — the Indian government’s assurances. Or if it is not true, then why did Jean say it? Was he making it up? Wrongly informed? Hallucinating?
- Third, what is the evidence backing this theory? The reporters say Jean offered none. The Tories wonder nevertheless if it was based on classified information, which might thus have been put at risk. Or if no classified information was disclosed, then why all the stonewalling and foot-dragging? Why the reluctance to let Jean answer questions from parliamentarians? Why should MPs have less information than reporters?
- [And, Andrew Coyne continues] So that’s national security, Canada-India relations, the rights of Parliament and the impartiality of the civil service potentially in play, to say nothing of the issues raised by the incident Jean was attempting to explain away: the presence of a convicted terrorist, posing for pictures with Liberal cabinet ministers, at official functions — and not just in Canada, where Atwal was a fixture at Liberal events, but on Indian soil. During a visit whose purpose was ostensibly to mend fences on this very issue … [but, despite all the partisan apolitical fuss and bother] … It’s probable this was just a colossal screwup. And yet the government has left hanging the unsupported accusation that elements of a foreign power were responsible — a power with whom we ostensibly have friendly relations. Only rather than make the accusation itself, it has relied upon the shadowy allegations of a shadowy civil servant, whom it has spent the past several weeks shielding from scrutiny … [but, seriously] … This will not do. As I said, there are serious questions raised by this affair, and they demand serious answers: about what was said, and why, and at whose behest. At the very least Jean needs to account for his own actions. He may shed light on others’ as well.“
So there we have it a “spoiled teen” of a nation that is “high maintenance, fickle and even hypocritical,” and one that manages to bring “national security, Canada-India relations, the rights of Parliament and the impartiality of the civil service” into question through one inexplicable or, at least, unexplained act.
In 2015 too many Canadians, especially young, left-leaning and progressive Canadians, shrugged off the Conservative‘s assertion that Justin Trudeau was “just not ready,” and the NDP’s warning that being prime minister is not an entry level job. Well, it appears, after two years of inaction, bungles, broken promises, lies and policy missteps, that the old fogeys were right. The only real change that Justin Trudeau has brought to us is related to our decline in stature in the world, from Louis St Laurent’s “leading middle power” and Mike Pearson’s “helpful fixer” through to Stephen Harper’s Canada that did “punch above it weight” to being, now, the “spoiled teen” of the G7.
Andrew Coyne and Konrad Yakabuski are not alone in deeming Justin Trudeau to be a less than successful prime minister. That’s certainly not a universal opinion but it is hard to find anyone, beyond e.g. Gerald Butts et al in the PMO, who think he has had a successful two years; in fact this is about the norm:
Justin Trudeau has failed those who put their trust and faith in him; he has failed Canada … he’s just not up to the job and it’s time for him to go.